Men’s social clubs have long been a fixture in English society, but the Lords of Anarchy seems to hold some deeper secrets and resentments. Discover Good Earl Gone Bad by Manda Collins, the second title in her Lords of Anarchy series.
The first I have read by this author, the story takes a slower pace, and builds characters carefully. They truly are the driving forces behind the story, and the twists with a touch of murderous intent and danger work to build the tension through to the conclusion. A simple ‘driving club’ the Lords of Anarchy are titled men who enjoy a bit of carriage racing, and other manly pursuits. Until Hermione Upperton is admitted into their ranks. A bold and fearless horsewoman of her own right, her vaunted pair is the perfect competition for the men. Until she loses her own property to pay off her rather feckless father’s gambling debt. But, as she is determined to get her own property back, her father goes one step further, and wagers her hand in marriage! Now, understandably women had few rights, but this was over the top. Great premise though.
And then, the man who won Hermione’s horses turns up murdered, and she is the primary suspect. Fortunately, her hand was won by Jasper, and while an inveterate gambler, he does have some sense of morality, and he knows that Hermione is better off away from her father, and with someone who can protect her from the dangers, and the charge of murder.
Hermione was a wonderful character: not too over the top in terms of her determination to win woman’s rights, although she did rail at the unfairness of the situation, and she’s not particularly thrilled with Jasper as a prospective husband. But, personas are often based in gossip and fueled by deliberate actions to cause more gossip and allow freedom of choice, and Jasper has used those tactics to great advantage personally, even as his reputation among the ton is dubious. He’s got a strong sense of loyalty, protectiveness and he’s actually rather intrigued by her. Like many of the ‘forced proximity’ trope stories, these two do not have an instant bond, but the ulterior motives are not stopgaps to a true friendship, which soon deepens into honest regard, and then the attractions come to the forefront.
With several twists and turns, a clever series of events lead them through the miasma of murder, villains, suspects and foes hidden and overt, and keeps readers following along. While not a race to the finish sort of story, the characters and events grow on you and become richer in each page. A great instalment in the series and one that will have me considering this author’s work in the future.
Title: Good Earl Gone Bad
Author: Manda Collins
Series: Lords of Anarchy #2
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Published on: 6 October, 2015
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
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Marriage? To a gambler? You must be joking! Yet Lady Hermione Upperton has never backed down from a challenge. When her spendthrift father offers her at the gaming tables, she is given a difficult choice—wed the Earl of Mainwaring, an infamous gamester with no respect for her skills with the reins, or face charges for the murder of a member of the infamous Lords of Anarchy. Either way she’ll have to clear her name. Can she count on her husband’s help the way she has begun to count on his kisses?
All Jasper Fawley, the Earl of Mainwaring, wanted was a night of cards. But by the end of the evening he’s walked away with a fortune—and a bride who’s suspected of murder. Jasper knows Hermione is passionate about her unorthodox membership in the Lords of Anarchy, but he’s certain she would never kill to keep it. Can he protect his headstrong wife from prosecution and a ruthless killer without endangering both their hearts in the process?
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A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.